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Viewpoint - September 2020

Leading Through Crisis

By Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search

It is safe to say our generation has not experienced a crisis of this magnitude and severity. The breadth and depth of coronavirus and its effects is such that winning the battle will require tremendous individual and collective efforts. Superb leadership has never been so very important. Leading with agility, compassion, humility and balance will prove essential. Let your emotional intelligence guide your decisions. Compassion is extremely important currently. We may rise to the occasion if we are fortunate to have a good team around us, but there are many people in our organizations who are depending upon us, who are not necessarily that resilient.

Executives must provide quick, clear, transparent communication to all stakeholders to stay ahead of potential issues. Countering misinformation is a far more formidable task. The content of your communication must remain focused on the positive. Adversity provides opportunity to build trust with your team. Take the time to inquire about their feelings, their health and that of their families. Admit the existence of problems and delve into their challenges both professional and personal.

Keeping your team fully engaged is far more arduous during a crisis particularly with so many working remotely. Listen to them carefully, push for constant feedback and by all means act on it. Do not lose sight of your organization’s mission and values. Walk the talk. Align your words with actions. Maintain a commitment to company purpose beyond the bottom line. Foster the right conditions for innovation and collaborative working that are crucial to adapt and survive in times of accelerated change.

The most decisive leaders I know become indecisive during uncertain times. Do not let the fear of making the wrong decision dampen your enterprising spirit. Leaders need to be leaders. They should have the ability to look beyond what is known and deal well with the unknown. As leaders balance the demands of profit and purpose in unprecedented conditions, having the vision to drive fast and quick reactions will be crucial to adaptation and survival.

The overwhelming effects of a crisis bring leadership back to its most fundamental elements. We can make a positive difference in people’s lives. By turning inward to cultivate awareness, vulnerability, empathy, and compassion, and then turning outward to comfort and address the concerns of stakeholders, leaders can exhibit individual care, build resilience, and position their organizations to positively reimagine a postcrisis future.



All the best,

Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

(888) 875-9993 ext 102

Finding tomorrow’s leaders today!

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